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Teacher continues lessons from her hospital bed after unexpected surgery

Stephany Hume is the type of teacher we all wish we'd had in elementary school. When the English language arts teacher of 20 years went to the hospital for an unexpected hernia surgery, she still made sure to read to her students at Sewell Elementary from her hospital bed -- gown and all.

(CNN) — Stephany Hume is the type of teacher we all wish we’d had in elementary school.

With the coronavirus pandemic, Hume said, one of her goals as a fifth grade teacher in Sachse, Texas, just 30 miles outside of Dallas, has been to create a sense of stability and routine for her students.

That’s why, when the English language arts teacher of 20 years went to the hospital for an unexpected hernia surgery, she still made sure to read to her students at Sewell Elementary from her hospital bed — gown and all.

“I left them hanging. We were, like, on chapter eight of the book and I went to the hospital and I thought, ‘I can’t leave these poor kids hanging without knowing what happens,'” she said.

Hume’s surgery kept her in the hospital for 11 days. Post surgery, Hume said she experienced a few complications with a relatively high fever, but she wanted to make sure her students didn’t miss any part of their daily routine.

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“Going through all the rough times … it’s easier to be here with these kids that are so full of hope and promise and potential,” Hume said. “I think it’s as therapeutic for me as it was for them for me to be there.”

During her hospital stay, she got on video and read to her students, answered questions and made assignments. And she did it all with the help of a familiar face.

Hume’s mother, who retired after 41 years as a teacher, is a substitute in the same school district and stepped in to help.

“Since it was someone I could definitely communicate with, I made sure I could talk to her and let her know what they (the students) were supposed to be doing. That made it much easier,” she said.

Students in the school district had been doing online learning since August, but some of them had just returned to an in-person format, according to Hume.

The school district has a hybrid model during the pandemic, with some parents electing to send their children to school and others deciding to keep their kids learning through an online format, according to Caren Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for Garland Independent School District, which includes Sewell Elementary. Parents may change their student’s instruction every nine weeks.

“I wanted them to make sure that it was going to be consistent and that I was going to be there,” she said. “I did it for the kids, I didn’t want to leave them with any gaps, so we could pick up where we left off when I got back.”

Hume returned to the classroom October 12.

When she logged on for the first time from her hospital bed, Hume said, she was welcomed by excited faces and positive spirits — which she said was exactly the healing she needed.

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